Bangkok Governor Election
Independent candidates come up short
The three leading independent Bangkok gubernatorial candidates trailed far behind the two big-party candidates yesterday in a disappointing result for them, but nonetheless they were grateful to those who had voted for them.Despite the fact that many Bangkokians claim to be fed up with party politics and the polarisation of Thai politics, none of the independent candidates succeeded in attracting a significant number of votes.
None of them was colourful enough or caught the imagination of the public like past independent candidates like Chuwit Kamolwisit or ML Nattakorn Devakul.
Chuwit, for example, won as many as 340,616 votes while Nattakorn, a young and popular blue-blooded candidate, secured 334,846 back in 2009.
None of the current crop could match those two. Although former police chief Pol General Sereepisut Temeeyaves, social media wizard Suharit Siamwalla and business tycoon Kosit Suvinijjit were regarded as promising - and they expected the 'silent voices' who normally do not vote to come out to vote for them, but that did not happen.
Sereepisut, looking nervous and tense after the exit polls looked unfavourable for him, said he would face up to reality. He urged the winning candidate not to allow his party to take over City Hall but acknowledge that it was a struggle between two big parties for the control of Bangkok.
On hindsight, he said independent candidates were no match for the two big parties' political machinery.
Suharit, meanwhile, said he was satisfied with the votes he received and vowed to engage in activities for the good of Bangkok - such as staging music in four corners of the capital, and campaigning for wider use of bicycles in Bangkok. He thanked all those who had voted for him. As of 6pm yesterday, Suharit had won nearly 60,000 votes.
News that he was being tapped by the new Bangkok governor to help administer the city was denied by Suharit, saying no such move had been made by 5pm yesterday
"The past 45 days were a valuable time. I thank all those who voted for me and consider them votes of free will. I shall carry on with my work and whether I run again or not will be decided in four years' time."
Kosit, another prominent independent candidate, also thanked all those who had voted for him. |He added that the result showed that Bangkokians were still trapped in the cycle of political conflict. "I will not work with the winner - but I am willing to support him," said Kosit, even before knowing the official result. He hoped to see Bangkok Metropolitan Administration governed by an independent governor and not one from a big political party.
He said although his friends and siblings had warned him not to run, he said he thought it was worth running even if just for one time.
Kosit said 45 days was hardly enough to campaign in a big city like Bangkok. He urged the two big parties to cooperate in running the city and hoped that party politics would not get in the way.
Kosit added that he would reconsider his political future and said he was satisfied with the number of his supporters who totalled 22,000 as of 6pm yesterday.